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Ocean Liner History and Stories from the Sea, Past and Present. With an In Depth focus on Holland America Line

22 November 2012; At Sea.

Today we spent the last of our day of the cruise at sea and it was a wobbly day. It has been horrible weather in the Gulf of Alaska and under Vancouver Island and the wave fields generated by this weather are rolling down the American coast as far down as Cabo San Lucas. The weather chart indicated that below San Diego the wave field would slightly curve away from the coast, making the waters through which we were to travel relatively smooth. However it did not work out that way, the wave field came and remained close to the coast and thus we had to bump our way through it. That means that I am in a sort catch 22. If I slow down then the ship has a smoother ride, but the pitching will still be there and slow us down below the average speed required, and if I keep the speed up it will result in a more uncomfortable ride but I will be on time in San Diego. Being on time in San Diego was the argument that won the day and I kept the speed up. If I come in too late guests might miss their flights and it will set back my departure time for the next cruise. So the ship pitched up and down against waves of 14 to 16 feet high with occasionally a higher or deeper one in between which would then cause the bow to slam into the waves and send a shiver through the ship. We kept that for the whole day although in the early evening it started to abate a little bit and thus final cocktail hours were not affected and suitcase packing could still be done in relative comfort. 

Not that it deter many of the guests from enjoying Thanks Giving day on board the ship. The dining room is decorated and the menu offers the option to enjoy a traditional thanksgiving dinner. For the rest it is a bit a subdued affair, which I think is in line with the thought behind the creation of this day. Reflect and be grateful for the harvest and the blessings of the past year.

The ships complements spent most of the day gearing up for tomorrow as we have approx. 112 crew going off and the same number coming back, depending on the fact if they all made it on board the plane in their home air port. This is not always the case as some miss their initial flight from the small commuter port that brings them to the International airport for their long flight. Some oversleep, some lose their paperwork, and everything human that can happen, does happen. As a result we are always very happy, when all crew positions are filled upon departure of the ship. But this is seldom the case, we always miss one or two, who did not make it and then join in a later port. For our coming cruise, that will be a challenge as we have 5 sea days to Honolulu. Thus we are keeping our fingers crossed this time.

I expect this will be the last big crew change of the year, as our next call in San Diego is on December 21st that is just before Christmas when all flights in and around the USA are very full. Also the crew is not that eager to leave home just before the holidays and thus the company tries to do the large crew changes a few weeks before the Holiday season so nobody is inconvenienced. Some crew like to be home for Christmas but other crew like to be on board. There is a strong sense of community spirit on the ships, and that spirit is even stronger around Christmas. You feel that you are delivering something special to the guests, while at the same time below decks the Christmas celebrations take place as well in the context of a large and extended family.

 The weather for tomorrow looks good no wind and very warm. I hope to be docked around 06.40 so we can start the clearance of the ship right on time. As soon as all disembarking guests are off, the challenge will start to get the ship ready on time. Supplies for 28 days and luggage for a 28 day cruise will make things hectic to say the least.

1 Comment

  1. Missed Career at Sea

    November 24, 2012 at 12:16 am

    On the return from Alaska this year I tried my estimation talents on the waves we plowed through. Very surprised I was when my 5 feet waves were more like 15 feet waves, according to roaming experts on deck! On the aft of Deck 6 I then tried to make a photo of the horizon through the stern “window” when “the water would hit the ceiling”. Only once it occurred but I never caught it on film, meaning that the stern was dipping somewhat …
    Are these reasons for missing a flight new to you, Captain? Putting gum in a flight coupon, or putting the flight coupon in a pocket of some garment going straight into the laundry?
    As of tomorrow, I will be glued to the screen of a computer following your crossing intently, Captain! Would you perhaps have some navigational highlights you can include of some historical crossings? (I have the theories in mind of ancient double-hulled canoe crossings.)
    When crossing the Pacific for 5 days on the way to Honolulu, is it a challenge at this time of the year, Captain?

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